Aug 31, 2010

Darwyn Cooke Tells It Like It Is!

I got this video from Pol Rua, and Darwyn Cooke simply tells it like it is.

Essentially, he says Marvel and DC have to stop catering to the perverted needs of 45-year-old men, that straight characters who have been straight for the last 60 years shouldn't become lesbians all of a sudden, that no one wants anyone to get raped in the ass, or whatever.

Hmm, seems like I said some similar words a while back...

On my Facebook page, after I posted this, Ty Templeton responded with:

It's hard not to agree with anyone with that much craggy character in the face. But of course he's right. I took Sue Dibney's rape personally, and believe that Batman was permanently devalued by Jason's Death and Barbara's crippling and rape, and Sarah Essen's POINTLESS murder (now forgotten). It makes Batman a useless character, incapable of inspiring a reader, or indeed, bringing justice to Gotham. Nowadays, he's just a pissed off guy in a weird costume, instead of a super-hero.

Ty is right, of course, but I responded with a really long response but mostly, it just asked him if it wouldn't be good if Batman lost once in a while. To which he said:

And no, it's not fine if Batman loses once in a while. He may APPEAR to be losing, or suffering in the middle of a story, but Batman's essential super-power is that he always finds a way to win. As soon as you make him human, make him fai...l, make him incapable of "finding that way"... he's just another guy in a suit. Imagine how Rocky would be remembered if Apollo Creed knocked him out in the first round. No one would have talked about it, and it wouldn't have been considered for the Oscars it won. Imagine if Darth Vader killed Luke and that was it. There comes a point where you've stopped writing the mythological character, and started writing about a loser. We do not read heroic fiction to be told that the world is hopeless, or that struggle is for nothing. That's what real life often tells us, and there's a REASON this stuff is called escapist fantasy. Without a triumphant Batman, you have a musical without music, a ballet without dancing.'s "different" but it is the point of varying so far from the form that it's unrecognizable.
I shall leave the music-less musicals for folks who are only interested in being non-conformist, but it is, by definition, not what "Super-heroes" are. 

Which again is entirely true. It's called escapist fiction for a reason, and that's not for us to get depressed. The truth is that, as David Mazzucchelli said in his appendix to Batman: Year One, the more we try to make superheroes realistic, the more we expose its absurdities. For example, oh, we must make this a realistic Batman story. How do we do that? I know, have Joker kill a bunch of people! But wait, to make it really realistic, wouldn't Batman have to kill him too? After all, he's letting more people die every time he keeps the Joker alive. Nah, we'll come up with some excuse to keep Joker around for next time. The fans'll buy it, trust me.

As Grant Morrison once said to Animal Man, "We thought that by making your world more violent, we would make it more 'realistic,' more 'adult.' God help us if that's what it means."


fanboy420 said...

Blackest Night is a testament to the loss of comics' faith in innocence and wonder. What with all the gruesome murders and close-up bullets to the head. All of which seem to serve no purpose but to sicken. If I wanted to get depressed I'd read a Camus novel.

I blame Speedy's battle with Heroin Addiction, and Green Arrow growing a left-wing liberalist bent. It all started there. :(

Then again, what inspires me is that heroes, despite being faced with these aspects of mortality, find a way to rise above them. It's a slippery slope, if you'll ask me.

I guess it all boils down to a matter of treatment.

Duy Tano said...

I have little to no problem with graphic violence -- kids see worse in video games. For the most part, they just find it funny.

What I do have a problem with is the dourness, the depressing nature of it when the villains win, when it has to be "realistic," and by "realistic," they really mean violent and sad.

And the sex. I don't really see the point of all the blatant sex. When I was a kid, any sexual references were tongue-in-cheek, and a kid could still read them. They may not completely understand, but they can.

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